Consumer / Employer

Brightline raises $105M to expand virtual mental healthcare services to diverse populations

The company’s digital on-demand platform, Connect, along with its coaching programs and clinical services—which include behavioral therapy, evaluation, medication support and speech therapy—are now available in all 50 states

Sad face depression

The pandemic has taxed the mental health of people of all ages, but it has been especially trying for children and teens. 

“Childhood and adolescent depression and anxiety doubled during the first year of the pandemic,” said Naomi Allen, co-founder and CEO of Brightline, in an email provided by a representative.

The Palo Alto, California-based company—which provides virtual behavioral health services to children, adolescents and families nationwide—is seeking to be part of the solution. On Tuesday it announced that it has raised $105 million in Series C funding to help it reach more children and families suffering with mental illness. The round brought the company’s total haul to date to over $200 million.

It’s the latest example of how an uptick in mental health concerns during the pandemic seems to have spurred significant investment in mental health startups. The need for virtual behavioral health fueled growth in mental health platforms, which range from Frame to Rose to TheraTalk.

“Brightline will use this investment to expand its services to support diverse populations such as caregivers of young children with autism spectrum disorder and youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or BIPOC,” Allen said. 

The company also plans to grow its partnerships with health plans and employers as demand for family-focused benefits skyrockets, she said. Additionally, Brightline is looking to use this funding to expand patient programs, support culturally competent care provider training and grow its care team. 

“We’re currently hiring therapists, coaches and other care experts nationwide,” Allen said. 

The company currently employs around 85 care providers, including psychologists, psychiatrists, speech-language pathologists and behavioral coaches. It’s now looking to triple that number by the end of the year, Allen said.

Global investment firm KKR led the Series C round, and existing investors GV (formerly Google Ventures), Optum Ventures, Oak HC/FT, Threshold, 7wireVentures, Children’s Medical Center Corporation (parent corporation of Boston Children’s Hospital), and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts also participated. Johnny Kim, director at KKR, has also joined Brightline’s board of directors, according to the company.

The sheer number of contributors and the amount raised signals Brightline certainly isn’t alone in recognizing a need to focus on whole child and whole family care.

“The healthcare system needs to better support families across the entire care journey—from first engaging with the system to achieving better health outcomes,” Allen said. “As the first nationwide full-family behavioral health solution built specifically to care for kids, teens and their caregivers, Brightline provides families with access to whatever care they might need.”

To bring families these benefits, the company partners with health plans and employers, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Shield of California, Competitive Health, Municipalities, Colleges, Schools Insurance Group (MCSIG), Sequoia, Stanford University and Xcel Energy. 

The company now serves 50 employers and covers more than 24 million health plan lives with plans to reach over 50 million health plan lives in 2022. 

Photo: phototechno, Getty Images